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Read this if you're hesitant to tell your story in your emails
👉 it might just give you what you need to get started
If I had to name one thing that people get the most squeamish about when writing emails, yet has the biggest positive impact on your success, I would have to say “telling personal stories”.
I know the feeling all too well.
I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about the first time I sent a personal story instead of a big email full of tips. I was convinced my readers would be disappointed at the level of content and I only dared press send because I couldn’t think of anything else to write.
Inevitably, it got the most engagement and best response of any email I’d sent up to that point.
Stories are much more interesting ways of getting across your ideas than “straight” emails. And your personal stories allow you to build a relationship with readers and get across your expertise and experience without it seeming like you’re showing off.
Yet still…every time I write a personal story I can’t help but worry.
“Does this make me seem like an idiot?”. “Am I talking about myself too much?”. “Do people really care what I did years ago?”.
It’s only natural really.
If we write a listicle of 15 tips on public speaking and no one likes it, so be it.
But if we write a story of how we struggled with shyness and how we overcame that to become a successful public speaker then if no one likes it, it feels much more like personal rejection.
Of course, that’s not true. But it’s the kind of thing you worry about. And it can hold you back from telling your story in your emails.
I’ve found there are two ways to get past this concern.
One is the way I initially did it. Get so short of ideas that the only thing you can come up with is a simple story and you’re forced to send it because it’s all you’ve got.
That’s probably not the best way.
Much easier is just to start dropping in little anecdotes.
You don’t have to write a full story email cleverly weaving your message around a dramatic event.
You can just use a little 2 or 3-sentence story to introduce the topic of your email.
“Back when I first started consulting the thing I struggled the most with was facilitating client meetings. It took me years of practice (and some excellent mentoring) before I finally got really good at facilitation. To save you all that pain, here are the top 5 tips I learned over the years…”
Or if you’re giving a tip you can quickly illustrate it with a mini-story.
“Tip #3 is to keep in regular contact with your ex-clients. You never know when they may have more work for you. This was really brought home to me a few weeks ago when I bumped into an old contact. After chatting for a while we realised he’d changed jobs and would have valued my support as he transitioned into his new role. But because we’d not spoken for ages he simply didn’t remember that was one of the types of work I did.”
Set yourself a goal of just adding one little anecdote to your next email.
Then the next.
Then the next.
Pretty soon it’ll become something you do habitually each time. And it’ll expand from just a little anecdote to a bigger, more impactful story.
Much better than waiting until you run out of ideas!
And if you want to learn a systematic approach to crafting stories that build the credibility and trust needed to turn readers into buyers, you’ll find exactly that in the Persuasive Writing module of my Effective and Engaging Email Newsletters Course.